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Police spy on Stephen Lawrence family

By Andy Yorke

Revelations about police spying on the family of the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence have backed the Tory-led coalition government into a corner, forcing Home Secretary Theresa May to agree to a public inquiry, admitting that the “full truth has yet to emerge”.

Stephen was murdered by a racist gang in 1993 in Eltham, London while waiting for a bus. His parents, Doreen and Neville Lawrence, had to campaign to force the Met to investigate seriously, facing police indifference and outright racism all the way. Ultimately the family forced the 1998 Macpherson Inquiry into the police investigation, finding the Met “institutionally racist”.

Now, evidence has emerged that Met Commander Richard Walton was involved in planting a spy in the family’s campaign during that Inquiry, gathering “fascinating and valuable” evidence on their marriage.

The fake Independent Police Complaints Commission has been forced to apologise for its 2006 report that the police had not withheld information on police corruption from Macpherson.

This is the latest in a series of revelations of police dirty tricks and infiltration, including climate change campaigns, the McLibel Two, the Hillsborough disaster, and the framing of miners during the “Battle of Orgreave”. Spies even fostered fake relationships and fathered children with their targets.

The Tory-Lib Dem coalition, the Crown Prosecution Service, the London Met and other police forces have done everything they can to block freedom of information requests, slow down investigations and reduce the issue to individual allegations of wrongdoing.

That’s why anti-racist organisations, justice campaigns like those of the Lawrence family, Hillsborough and around deaths in custody, and the labour movement as a whole should come together and mount a working class inquiry into the police so we get justice, not a whitewash.

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